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Last time we checked in on Four Seasons Dublin, it was getting ready to wind down with another “five-star brand” ready to take over.
We guessed Intercontinental – and lo, it has come to pass! It switched hands officially on 1 January.
We’ll start with the good news first: of the twelve hotel employees that were injured after the gas blast at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, only one remains hospitalized, with non-life threatening injuries. Having walked by the hotel, we can also confirm that statements about part of the building having “collapsed” seem exaggerated: as you can see in the photos further below, the building is intact, and only at the rear of the building does there seem to be any damage.
Unfortunately, the official statement on the hotel website, and the notices we saw, do say that the hotel is “currently closed for the foreseeable future”.
Throwback Monday to… a time when Aleppo was a popular tourist destination.
The Baron Hotel was one of the finest hotels in Syria when it opened in 1911. Charles de Gaulle stayed here. So did Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express in room 203. “Hotel Baron, the only first-class hotel in Aleppo” says a poster from the 1930s strung up in reception. It’s the oldest hotel in Syria.
Or, rather, it was until last week, when its owner revealed he’s closed it.
“It's been nearly four years since the war began and I see nothing that inspires any optimism in me, quite the contrary,” Armen Mazloumian told AP. “Honestly, the hotel will never go back to how it was.”
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If you’re looking to capture the last moments of Four Seasons Hotels before they close, your itinerary is no longer limited to Hawaii’s Lana’i this year (one of the two hotels there, The Lodge at Koele, will shut early January for most of the year, as part of Larry Ellison’s plans for the island).
You’ll be heading to the Irish capital Dublin and Jakarta, Indonesia, too – quite the reach for a three-country jaunt, isn’t it? In Ireland, the goodbyes are forever, with the announcement that the group will cease management of Four Seasons Dublin on December 31 this year. Luxury hotels in Dublin have had a tough run since the 2008 crisis, with probably some of the lowest rates we’ve seen of any European Four Seasons, often hovering around the €200 ($250) mark, if not just below, at the hotel. The Irish Times reports that the hotel was sold in 2011 for €15 million, believed to be a quarter of what it cost to develop the hotel in 2001. Another “five-star international brand” will be taking over, so we’ll have to wait and see which one that is – perhaps InterContinental?
In two days time, Scotland will go to the polls to decide whether it wants to become an independent state or remain part of the United Kingdom. Politicians and business people are tussling over what would be better for the country.
In the meantime, Scotland’s most expensive hotel ever – the first to charge £1000 a night – has quietly closed its doors.
The Atholl, in the West End of the city, opened in 2012 after a £5m conversion project. And now, according to owner Alison Davies (and the Daily Mail), it’s closed for good. No more Hermes wallpaper, no more Albert Roux restaurant, no more “award-winning garden”. The hotel will be converted into apartments.
We highlighted both the rooms at Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem and St. Regis San Clemente Palace Venice recently as examples of luxury hotels that failed to inspire with their design. The Waldorf landed on a palette of browns that escapes us and the St. Regis didn’t look like we’d expect it after a €25 million do-over.
Turns out we weren’t wrong to be disappointed: while the Venetian island resort has joined Starwood under the St. Regis brand earlier this year, the closure period that will see those €25 million making a splash starts this October and lasts until spring 2015.
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August 1 will be a big day in Paris: not only is Peninsula Hotels finally opening its rather grand entry into Europe, the Plaza Athénée will start welcoming guests again after a closure of just under a year.
Almost two years after Sydney's iconic Observatory Hotel changed owners to become The Langham Sydney, the property will close its door to undergo a massive renovation to make the space a lot more, well, Langham.
The first day of renovations is scheduled for July 24. Over the next four months, all 96 guest rooms, the lobby, dining areas and the residential-style ballroom will see a bit more than a few new coats of paint. Spending around $30 million AUD, the hotel will install a new design element, to bring it more in-line with their other properties around the globe.
Each of the rooms will trade their stuffy, dated interior for a more modern, white-washed decor with herringbone hardwood-floors, modern furnishings and gold and teal accents marrying high-end luxe with colonial charm. Being one of the only hotels in Sydney to offer balconies in each room, guests will be able to enjoy the near perfect Sydney weather from the comfort of their own room.
Tokyo’s Toranomon Hills Tower may have only just opened, Andaz hotel and all, but one of the classic hotels nearby is planning its own future skyscraper already: the Hotel Okura Tokyo – famous for its 1960s time capsule lobby – will close next year August for four years of redevelopment.
Come February 2019, a brand new two-tower complex should be finished, which will increase room count from just over 400 to 550, adding office space in the process. Design will maintain “traditional Japanese aesthetics” while bringing in all the latest technological equipment – and looking at some of the room photos on the hotel’s website, they look like they could use some work. Half of the hotel’s grounds will be turned into a green “metropolitan oasis”.
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And so the wave of grande dame hotels embarking on major renovations continues: this time, it’s the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, in the tiny principality of Monaco, which will start four years’ worth of work this October.
While we initially thought the hotel would close its doors entirely, it’s taking a slightly different approach and will continue to operate “on a reduced scale”. In order to prepare for the work, the hotel will indeed shut from October 6 to mid-December, but reopen for the holiday season, with full work kicking off on January 18 next year.
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At the time of closure – and based on a sign that was displayed on its front door until not too long ago – we had hoped for a return just before the 2014 festive season. But the first delay is already in the bag: the hotel’s website now talks about reopening on March 31, 2015.
For loyal fans of famous Hemingway Bar at the Hotel Ritz Paris, these dark winter months must be the hardest of all during its two-year plus closure. August last year, when the last drink was poured, is a long time ago, and reopening at the end of next year (if all goes as planned) is still far away.
So what to do? Well, for a (very) lucky few, the answer lies at 30,000 feet. The hotel has partnered with national flag carrier Air France to create “Bar Hemingway in the Sky”, which will see Colin Field, head bartender of Hemingway, stepping onboard to mix, shake, and stir among the clouds.